How does Clare House work?

Referrals to Clare House CAMHS come from primary service providers such as General Practitioner, Paediatrician, social worker, guidance officer or child and family services.

The referral is made through the Mental Health Services Helpline which is a 24/7 telephone service (1800 332 388) where decisions are made as to whether Clare House is the most appropriate service and urgency. If Clare House is not the most appropriate service information and referral to another agency can occur.

If Clare House is the most appropriate service, the referral will be passed on to the intake workers at Clare House who may contact the family or young person to discuss the mental health concerns and will arrange an appointment for an initial assessment.

What to Expect

Once your referral has been accepted you will be a time and date for an initial assessment by an intake worker.

The initial assessment will last for about 90 minutes and involve the young person and their family. The initial assessments are usually conducted by two clinicians and there is an opportunity for the young person and their family to discuss issues separately. The initial assessment is your opportunity to discuss your concerns and what you would like for the future.

At the initial assessment parents/carers and young people over 11 years will also be asked to complete a questionnaire to help the service understand their views of their problems.

After the initial assessment the clinical team confidentially discusses the information you have provided at the initial assessment and decides if Clare House is the right service for you. If Clare House does not seem the right service to help move forward, we will inform you of other services available and if appropriate assist you in accessing these services.

When Clare House is the right service, , a clinician is allocated and a treatment plan is developed in collaboration with the young person and other significant people.

All Clare House clients are registered on a confidential database held by the Department of Health and Human Services who fund public health services.

Individual Service Plans

Individual Service Plans (ISPs) are agreements between clients and their clinician (case manager) about the diagnosis, treatment and its focus (and your goals).

An ISP is developed with your clinician during the initial stages of your treatment.

An ISP includes:

  • The major problems
  • Treatment goals – how do you and your family want things to be?
  • Strategies to achieve goals – what are we going to do to help?
  • People involved and their responsibilities
  • Time frames – how long will we try this for?

We will regularly review your ISP so that we know we are on the right track.

The following include a range of options for treatment that may be included in an ISP:

Assessments and Treatments Offered

Community Treatment

Most CAMHS treatment occurs in the community. It may also involve liaison with the school and involve contact and discussion with teaching staff, to help the child at the school level. Other significant people in the child or young persons life may also be invited to be involved.

There are several types of treatment that may be recommended by your clinician. The decision to choose a particular treatment is usually determined by the type of mental health problem the child or adolescent is experiencing. Your clinician will offer treatment(s) that are known to be the most helpful with this type of problem and will discuss the reasons why these treatments have been chosen. A combination of therapies is often the most appropriate in addressing mental health problems efficiently.

Treatments other than those outlined here are available. If one is recommended by your Clinician, ask for more information.

Crisis Intervention

Crisis Intervention is a quick response to a serious, perhaps life-threatening, situation. This involves a brief assessment and planning so that a further crises can be avoided.

Assessment of Specific Aspects

Assessment of specific difficulties may be recommended when a clinician needs more information on which to determine the most appropriate treatment plan. This may include assessment of sensory / sensory-motor development, and cognitive / thinking or problem solving abilities.


Medication can be of value in the treatment of certain disorders. When medication is recommended it is usually in conjunction with other forms of therapy.

Family Therapy

The focus of this intervention is the family system and usually invites close family members to be involved in finding solutions to current problems.

Group Therapy

Group therapy enables group members to help each other through their interaction, modelling and an opportunity to belong to a peer group under the guidance of experienced staff.

Parental Therapy

Parental Therapy is where parents who have become stuck in negative cycles over their child’s problems are offered support and advice on how to parent these children more effectively.

Individual Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy is where the clinician and client develop a therapeutic relationship in order to promote changes in the client’s mental state and understanding of the world.

Supportive Therapy

Supportive Therapy involves the therapist assisting the client to develop coping strategies in order to deal with their current situations. This may involve seeking out support groups in the community.

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy

Cognitive behaviour therapy is a technique used to assist the client to overcome their problems by thinking about them in a different way.


This provides information to the client or family about their mental health and answers questions that they may have about their condition.